We’ve already had a few Port Mourants from the 2003 batch but never had a full 2003 session. Let’s see what’s left.
Transcontinental Rum Line Diamond Navy (Port Mourant) 2003 12YO (57,18%): I don’t think I will ever understand the reason behind bottling Rum at Navy proof but we don’t always have to understand everything, don’t we!? Nose: Rather standard Diamond era PM with wet wood/ cardboard, those spices (anise, cumin), sweet paprika powder and more fruity notes such as oranges and related citrus fruits or papaya. Pretty standard, but probably on the better half of things. Palate: Way less flavorful than the nose, unfortunately. Everything seems to be a bit muted, and we do get quite a few (smoky!?) off-notes which really shouldn’t belong here. Whatever the nose has done right, the palate is doing wrong it seems – it really is day and night. I don’t think this one will leave any (good) lasting impressions with anyone who already had a Port Mourant or two before. Now the oranges, some of the spices and a whiff of the woody notes from the distillate but this is so much less than it could and should be. Finish: Short and essentially just as disappointing. This Rum just seems to add to the long list of subpar and interchangeable bottlings that LMDW’s Transcontinental Rum Line has amassed. Sorry folks! (75/100)
Masam Port Mourant 2003 16YO (53,5%): The legend of Silvano Samaroli lives on in these Masam bottlings, at least that’s what we’d like to believe. More so than in the Samaroli bottlings I guess. Fortunately, they are also bottled at a higher proof than the vast majority of his previous Rum bottlings. Nose: Quite nice and somewhere between floral, oily and spicy. Chamomile, cloves, some grass, sweet quince, olive oil, brine, saline solution, herbal tea, anise and wet wood are my main associations here and are pretty well-balanced. Palate: Relatively mild overall, but with this certain oily/ greasy bite (which reminds me of working machineries) that I like quite a bit. Then salty notes and brine, the olive oil again, anise and chamomile, a few continental fruits here and there and eventually also wet wood/ cardboard as well as a whiff of tropical fruits. Good stuff, for sure! Finish: Not very long but to my pleasure strong on those greasy notes of machine oil. You know that we love dirty Rums! A really interesting bottling in many regards. It kinda combines the best elements of the DDL era Port Mourants in one Rum, even though we still are not approaching the greatness of the more distant past. But hey, weren’t we the ones who are not supposed to mourn those days!? That said, it does give us a glimpse of hope that eventually, paired with the right barrels of course, we might be able not to replicate past profiles, but to get back to the same level of quality! (85/100)
Renegade Guyana Port Mourant 2003 6YO “Tempranillo Finish” (46%): I am never sure if we should put these young, yet uncharacteristic bottlings first or last but given how different from the more batch characteristic barrels they often turn out to be, last probably makes more sense. Nose: Not too much wine at first. Instead wet wood, anise, some citrus and a whiff of tropical fruits – yes, that’s pretty standard! But then we can find those vinous notes close to vinegar, foul grapes, apples/ cider and even rotting quince perhaps. It’s actually quite solid and the wine cask harmonises with the distillate surprisingly well. Palate: 46% seem to be wisely chosen, even though the Rum is still a bit sharp. I am not sure if it would have worked as well at cask strength. However, that might also explain why we actually find less of the wine cask here than in the nose; it is only towards the end of a sip that you can detect those vinous notes that we’ve been sniffing before. Besides that, it is a pretty standard Port Mourant with anise, wet wood, citrus, pepper, mixed fruit jam and salted licorice but then also apple vinegar, cider and quince. It surely works for me, and at six years this is surprisingly mature, but nevertheless Port Mourant seems to require longer ageing to excel if you ask me. Finish: Short to medium long with the notes from the palate, with a slightly stronger emphasis on the vinous notes perhaps. Good stuff. (83/100)